Friday, May 26, 2017

Lawmakers Rub Out Emergency Ethics Reforms -
TPJ, Public Citizen Statement

Gov. Abbott's "Emergency" 
Goes Unheeded - Again!

For the second legislative session in a row, lawmakers largely ignored Gov. Greg Abbott's emergency call for ethics reform.

See the fate of 10 Key Reform Bills and TPJ's reaction.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Lobby Watch: $1.7 M. Ideological Dollars Drove Patrick-Straus Rift?

The biggest funding difference between Lt. Gov. Patrick and Speaker Straus stems from Ideological/Single Issue contributors. Before ideological brawls broke out between the two legislative chambers, Ideological/Single Issue donors gave Patrick almost $2 million--or 674 percent more than they gave to Straus.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Lobby Watch: Predatory Lenders Lavish $4.2 Million on Texas Pols

The predatory lending industry has spent a stunning $4.2 million on Texas politicians over the past two elections, including more than $1 million from Cash Store chief Trevor Ahlberg of Irving (25 percent of the total). These heavy political investments helped a defensive industry seize the offensive.

 Check out Lobby Watch and view our ledger of political indebtedness.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Running on Hydrocarbons:
Oil & Gas Contributions to Texas Legislators

Current Texas lawmakers took $11.3 million from the oil and gas industry over the past two election cycles, according to a new report, "Running on Hydrocarbons," released today by Texans for Public Justice, Public Citizen and the Sierra Club's Lone Star Chapter. The Energy & Natural Resources sector supplies lawmakers with more money than any other sector besides Lawyers & Lobbyists (even as Energy & Natural Resources is the leading employer of Texas lobbyists).

Read the media release

Read the full report: Running on Hydrocarbons.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Lobby Watch: The Newest 'Revolving Door' Lobbyists.

With five of Speaker Joe Straus' former lieutenants stepping straight into the lobby this session, a Straus-appointed committee eviscerated a reform to slam the brakes on the revolving door. 

Members seem to regard the revolving door as a personal entitlement, as the House trains future lobbyists at public expense. Which 2015 committee chair now boasts the fattest retainers? Who lugged the biggest leftover war chest into the lobby? 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Lobby Watch: Locking Up Immigrant Families

Orwellian Texas lawmakers are working on legislation to license immigrant detention centers as child-care facilities. Many testified against the idea, but the prison industry is paying ten Texas lobbyists up to $480,000 and has doled out $225,000 in political contributions in recent years. 

Read the Private Prisons report.

Monday, April 3, 2017

Lobby Watch: Fantasy Sports Bookies
Recruit Deep Lobby Bench

When Attorney General Paxton opined last year that fantasy-sports bets constitute illegal gambling, the industry had one registered Texas lobbyist. Today, as the House Licensing Committee hears a legalization bill, the industry boasts 25 Texas lobbyists.

Allen Blakemore, who leads the lobby's fantasy team, doubles as a political consultant. That's why Austin bookies are taking odds on the extent to which Blakemore's legislative clients will outdo their colleagues in supporting this industry. 

Lobby Watch handicaps this fantasy match up like nobody else.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Lobby Watch: Sitton Enters Crossfire of Pipeline Spat

Railroad Commissioner Ryan Sitton recently tried to mediate a payment dispute between natural gas producers and gas-pipeline giant DCP Midstream--despite having taken thousands of political dollars from both sides of that negotiating table.

For the latest on how Railroad Commissioners make sausage, see Lobby Watch.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Conflicted! Texas Railroad Commissioners Fail
to "Self-Police" Their Self-Interests

New report finds Texas Railroad Commissioners took tens of thousands of dollars from energy interests with cases pending before their agency in recent years. The new study contradicts testimony by the commissioners that they “self-police” themselves against such conflicts of interest.

Read the media release.

Read the full 'Conflicted!' report.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lobby Watch: Ride-Hail Lobbyists Land Up to $2.3 Million

Two San Francisco-based ride-hailing giants are spending up to $2.3 million on 40 Texas lobbyists in 2017. A year after Austin voters told Uber and Lyft to kiss off if they wouldn't respect a driver-fingerprinting ordinance, a Senate panel is considering three bills today to prevent local governments from regulating the ride-app industry.